How Target is Bringing Pinterest to Life

Target is one of the few retailers that is not afraid of experimenting and thus, has become a pioneer in the social sphere. From encouraging Facebook users to give their friends Target gift cards on their birthdays to providing a consumers with a couponing app called Cartwheel to creating “The Awesome Shop” where Target aggregates the most-pinned items from both online and in-stores, Target continues to tie e-commerce sales to social media.

Recognizing the fact that more than 700,000 party planning-related items are pinned every day, Target announced they will be partnering with three of Pinterest’s top pinners and launching three party planning collections in their stores this year.

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Throughout 2014, Joy Cho of Oh Joy!Jan Halvarson of Poppytalk and Kate Arends of Wit & Delight will create limited-time-only collections that include party décor, paper products and serving pieces designed in their signature aesthetic. Cho’s collection, which recently debuted on March 16, includes bold use of color and pattern in everything from whimsical banners to sparkly party hats.

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I think this is a genius way of continuing to resonate with consumers. By paying attention to the type of items consumers are pinning, this also helps the retailer gauge which products will be popular from a merchandising perspective. Target has been extremely successful with designer collaborations in the past, including a deal with the Italian knitwear maker Missoni, which prompted such heavy demand that the retailer’s site crashed. I know I was guilty of purchasing a thing or two.

Check out Target’s website for a look at Joy’s full collection, with products ranging in price from $3 to $25.

Will you be browsing their party planning collaborations this year? Do you think partnering with everyday people will help attract more Pinterest follows and boost sales?


Gustasfon, K. (2014, February 13). Targets pinterest tie-in is just the beginning. Retrieved from

Wagner, K. ( 2014, February 10) . Target pinterest party. Retrieved from

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10 Responses to How Target is Bringing Pinterest to Life

  1. Michele says:


    Target is a great example of a retailer that is doing Pinterest right. Rather than relying on creating their own Pinterest pages, they are seeing what their customers are pinning and then sharing that information with other customers. Have you seen their AwesomeShop? It combines top Pinned items with highly reviewed items in a simple, graphically clean format that gives customers a way to find ‘awesome’ product ideas.

    Something that your post brings out is just how directly Pinterest can drive traffic to a retailer. Companies have been focusing on Facebook but I don’t see it having the same direct impact. On Facebook, the retailer has to have the relationship with the customer while on Pinterest it benefits from relationships that potential customers have with others. While the differences are not yet too big, a recent study found that the “Pin It” button is more common on retailer sites than the Facebook “Like.”

    That makes sense to me. I know that I go to Facebook to interact with family and friends, not with retailers. But I go to Pinterest for inspiration, whether for cooking, clothing, or decorating, so I’m much more open to having that lead me to a retailer’s site.

    BTW, I may have one or two pieces from the Target Missoni collection as well.

  2. Pete LuPiba says:

    My wife, kid, dog and I live next to single best-selling Target in the U.S. The store on Olentangy River Road in Columbus – across the street from The Ohio State University. The store opened during the 1997-1998 academic year. It not only serves the campus community but growing near West and downtown neighborhoods. I agree with your expert analysis and that by “paying attention to the type of items consumers are pinning, this also helps the retailer.” It is an almost real-time inventory of what is working for the store and its shelves, displays, marketing. As a business owner or company investor, this is THE way to take stock, to evaluate. Again, superb post and review piece for a worthy discussion.
    Fight On, classmate! sincere best, Pete

  3. Misty Brown says:

    Maru, I like how timely and relevant your post is. Traditional bloggers (not pinners) have been hunted for years now by brands and TV shows to offer expert opinions on anything from food to fashion to relationships. It’s interesting to see that same adoration carry over to the top Pinterest pinners.

    Like Target, I don’t yet know if this collaboration will result in spiked sales. But I would imagine that increased sales is only one of Target’s KPIs in this case. Given the scale at which pinners are known, I would think it more likely that Target is specifically, ahem, targeting DIYers who live on sites like Pinterest, Etsy and eBay. It wants to look and behave in an authentic manner. I think this is one clever and holistic way to do just that.


  4. Kara Seward says:


    I’ve seen this type of collaboration in the fashion world. T.J. Maxx started using popular fashion bloggers as their “spokespeople.” I think it is a great concept. The bloggers already have a strong following, and there is a fit between the two entities – fashion bloggers need access to discounted, high-end brands and T.J. Maxx provides.

    Who knew that many people were interested in throwing fabulous parties? I thought the house cocktail and dinner parties went out with the age of the Stepford wives. Maybe the recession brought parties back into the home. I also see a great collaboration here for Target – similar to the fashion example. I’ll be interested to see how successful Target is in implementing the special lines.


  5. Lorena Crowley says:


    I think this is such a great example of how the definition of “influencers” continues to evolve. The title that was once reserved for press/media and celebrities is so much wider today. If anything, “regular” people are building more influential stature. Target’s approach demonstrates a willingness to accept this shift, and embrace it. I’m curious why they limited the collections to party planning … I would have thought that home decor, accessories, kitchenware and some other categories could have been promising too. I’m quite curious how this tactic works for them, and if they are able to make the link from getting “pinned” to being purchased. If they succeed, it certainly demonstrates the commercial potential of the site.

    • Maru says:

      Hi Lorena,

      Pinterest found that the majority of pins people were pinning were of entertaining and event ideas…I must admit, there are some clever pin ideas! I am eager to learn how the rest of the year plays out with the other two designers. I haven’t heard much about their success yet, but it shows how lucrative Pinterest can really be for retailers such as Target.
      Thanks for your comments!

  6. Christa says:

    Finally! A big business that use social media the right way. Very refreshing. They took Target, a GIANT brand and corporation and made it the go-to for domestic goods. I love how they can utilize real people that are using their product for good. It’s that warm fuzzy feeling of having a friend help plan a special event. I think a lot of businesses were slow to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon because they weren’t quite sure how people were going to use it. Party planning is HUGE, as well as fitness, fashion styling and recipes. I’d be shocked if Macy’s or Ann Taylor didn’t come along and hire some stylists from Pinterest to collaborate with them. Or maybe even the Food Network coming in and hosting a recipe contest based on the most pins….
    Great post, very insightful.

    • Maru says:

      Hi Christa,

      I agree! I know I am guilty of using Pinterest for entertaining ideas…it’s genius! Nordstroms has taken both Pinterest and crafty site Etsy to life as well. They have a section where they featured the top pinned items in their stores and they collaborated with Etsy artists to feature their creations in their stores. I agree that it’s only a matter of time until Macys jump onto this collaboration as well. Great idea about the Food Network! Thanks for your thoughts!

  7. Erin says:

    Great post Maru and very timely. I am an avid pinner and frequent Target shopper. I am almost 100% sure that I will buy something from one of these lines this year (I also enjoy hosting parties). Just like I did with their designer lines. It may be too soon to tell how this collaboration will fair for Target but I know their competitors will be watching.


    • Maru says:

      Hi Erin,

      I am TOTALLY guilty of giving in to all of these collaborations! I definitely see a connection between pins and sales because half of the stuff I pin I end up buying! Pinterest is a dangerous thing!!